Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe national park is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda in the rusizi district with cyangugu as the nearest town. The park is 230km far from Kigali the capital of Rwanda and this makes it a five-hour drive. The park is located in the western arm of the great rift valley and it stretches from Albert lake to lake Tanganyika.

Nyungwe national park borders Burundi and its south of Lake Kivu, west of the democratic republic of congo. This park is gifted with lots of rivers which makes it produce 75% of the country’s water. Nyungwe park existed from far back during the days of German rule though it was declared a national park in 2004.

Nyungwe national park covers an area of about 150 sq km and it’s a home of 1,068 plant species, 85 mammals, and 300 bird species.

The park has got several activities and these include the canopy walks through the 130kilometers constructed trails, chimpanzee trekking with 2 habituated chimpanzee groups one found in the cyamudongo forest, and the rest at uwinka.

Nyungwe national park has got two fragmented forests and is gisakura which is home to the habituated colobus monkeys and cyamudongo the home of a small group of chimpanzees.

Nyungwe national park is always open throughout the year and the working hours are from 7 am to 5 pm.

The history of nyungwe national park

The detailed information about nyungwe national park starts with its well-preserved montane rainforest and having the park right from the 1903s during the German colonial rule.  By this period it was declared as a park, a reserve, and a crown land of the nyungwe by the government.

During the years 1958 and 1973, the nyungwe national park was compressed as a result of fires, deforestation, and poaching to 150 sq km. it was by this time that many elephants were killed and during 1975 lots of buffaloes were also killed.

During the year 1984, there was an increase in the number of colobus monkeys and they grew to about 400. By this time the government set up research facilities in uwinka but unfortunately in the year 1994, they were destroyed due to the genocide issues.

From 1995-to 2004 the government embarked on the restoration of the research facilities and it was by this period that nyungwe was declared a national park.

Things to Do in Nyungwe National Park

Chimpanzee at nyungwe national park

Chimpanzee tracking at nyungwe National Park offers an opportunity for only 2 groups of tourists to visit a single group of chimpanzees.

Nyungwe national park has got only two habituated groups of chimpanzees having the biggest group with about 60 members and it’s found at uwinka and the smallest and currently the last group with only 30 members and it’s found at cyamudongo forest.

Chimpanzee tracking at nyungwe can be either done during the early morning or also late in the morning.

The distance and time that can be spent to see the chimpanzee can be predicted but it depends on the location of the chimpanzees. Roughly the round trip can be of about 4.2 km with a total altitude of 240m and around one hour of walking and three hours of looking in the trees to locate the different birds, chimpanzees, birds, and monkeys.

The following are the additional primates you’re to enjoy during your chimpanzee tracking leaving aside the common chimpanzee; Ruwenzori colobus, l’hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, golden monkey, hamlyuis monkey, red-tailed monkey, dent’s mona monkey, vervet monkey, olive baboon, and the grey checked mangabey.

What to carry for chimpanzee tracking

As you come to enjoy the chimpanzees with the lots of birds and other primates there are certain things you have to carry with you and these include the following;

  • Binoculars to see the distant birds and monkeys
  • Rain gears because the area is rainforest and the rain cant be predicted so it’s safe to move well prepared.
  • Hiking boots
  • Water and snacks
  • And a walking stick which will be given to you by the ranger guide.

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Canopy walks at Nyungwe Forest National Park

The park has got 130km of well-constructed trails for canopy walks. Here you are to enjoy the clear view on top of the trees. It’s rare to find a canopy walk in Africa and in all of east Africa it can be only found in Rwanda in nyungwe national park.

The canopy walk has got three receptions which are kitabi found near the park entrance, the uwinka reception center in the middle of the park, and lastly the gisakura reception center.

Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe National Park-Golden Monkey

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Colobus monkeys at Gisakura

Gisakura is found outside the park in the middle of the tea plantations. This is a deep little valley filled with lots of streams flowing towards the bottom. The area is less than a square kilometer and it’s a watershed to the springs of the tea plantation.

Gisakura was recognized by the park during the year 2005 after the settlement of the Angola black and white colobus monkeys. While at gisakura you are likely to spot the mona monkey chilling with the colobus.

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How to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzees at nyungwe can be found at uwinka and cyamudongo forest.

Cyamudongo is a 19sq km fragmentation of the rainforest circled by the tea plantation. It’s 11km long at the shagasha tea estate and village.

You are advised to contact the local tour operator that includes ADVENTURE IN THE WILD SAFARIS  which is the best and most affordable tour operator who will take you to either uwinka or cyamudongo for the adventurous chimpanzee tracking as they will prepare your transportation, meals, activity permits and accommodation.

The best time to go for chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is free and safe throughout the year but the best time to go for chimpanzees at nyungwe national park the best time is during June July and august as the chimpanzees are enjoyed the filled fig trees with the sweet fruits to the chimpanzees.

Only two travelers’ groups are allowed to visit a single chimpanzee group.

Accessibility of nyungwe national park

By road Nyungwe national park is found 230 km from Rwanda’s capital making it a 5-hour drive.

On your way to nyungwe national park, you are to enjoy the king’s palace at nyabisindu where you are to get everlasting insight into Rwanda’s kingdom, the craft shops, arboretum, national museum,gikongoro genocide memorial center, bisesero memorial centers, and many more.

By air, you are to use the chattered flights by Rwanda air.

Accommodation facilities at nyungwe national park

There are no hotel structures inside the park though you can find them outside near the park. You can find cheap and comfortable camping sites inside the park

Outside the park, you can get all the comfortable and suitable accommodation facilities depending on your capability enjoying the luxury lodges, mid-range lodges, and budget lodges. And these include

  • Only nyungwe house
  • Nyungwe top view hill hotel
  • Nyungu forest lodge
  • Gisakura family hostel
  • Nyungwe eco-village
  • Chimpanzee lodge
  • Nyungwe nziza ecolodge
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